Fragments – movie review

Fragments is a 2008 movie, which focuses on the psychological impact that witnessing a violent event has on the lives of ordinary people. The film begins in a busy diner in a rural town on a lovely summer’s day.  Each of the people are concerned with events in their own lives. A father is having lunch with his teenage daughter and her friend. A man at the lunch counter is reading pamphlets about how to deal with his cancer. The waitress is calling her daughter on a cell phone. Just the every day lives of everyday people, which  might not seem exciting, yet are very important to the people involved.

Then a man enters the diner and randomly starts shooting people.

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We are not giving away the movie to tell you this, since the movie is not really about the shooting. It is about what happens to the survivors after the event.  At first it seems like they are all fine. In the hospital, a psychologist tries to talk to each of them individually about dealing with the stress and its after-effects. However, none of them feel the need to talk. They all feel there had been no lasting impact on them.

The survivors discover that , there is world of difference between seeing violence on T.V. and actually being part of a violent event in real life. Each of the people has been dramatically impacted by what they saw, although many of them do not realize it. What they saw begins to change their behavior and how they interact with the world and other people.

There is also a mystery in the film of exactly what really did happen in the diner. We don’t see the actual event as it happens. We only see fragments of it through the selected memories of the survivors. In some cases, the memories of the different survivors do not match exactly.

This movie has an all-star cast of incredibly talented actors. Forrest Whitaker plays the man with cancer. In an ironic twist, people keep telling him how lucky he is to have survived the shooting.

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Kate Beckinsale does a fantastic portrayal of the waitress. She is wracked with guilt that she was unable to call the police during the shootings. She had spent so long talking to her daughter that her cell phone battery was dead when the shootings began.

Dakota Fanning and Josh Hutchenson are the surviving teenagers.  After the event, one turns to religion and the other simply stops speaking to anyone.

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The violence has a ripple effect throughout the community impacting even people who were not at the diner. The local doctor (played by Guy Pearce), cannot get over the fact that he was unable to save any of the victims. As a small town doctor, he was simply not equipped to handle a mass shooting.

This an excellent, poignant film. After you see it, you will probably look at news stories differently. The next time you turn on the T.V. and watch a report about some killings, you will find yourself coming to the realization that the individuals involved are actually Real People.

We give this film our highest rating of Five Stars *****

 

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